Binding Review: 08-09 Union Contact
03 Sep, 2008
Location: Timberline, Oregon
Snow Conditions: Slushy, bumpy snow softer in spots with some hardpacked icy areas. Overcast skies to fog.
Setup: I rode the Union Contact bindings on the Black Death Inc with my Vans Omni Focus boots.
Time to set up the binding: Quicker than average
Fit: I really had the time to get these dialed to my boots, making sure the fit was there and adjusted to me. Even with a men’s binding, I always worry the highback might be too much for my calf’s and boot fit…but the contacts were not an issue on sizing to a women’s boot in the M/L size. I also didn’t have any width problems, no gaps in the fit between the boot and bindings on the width factor.
First Impression: It’s the brite light of bindings…so far so good. Yes it is extremely lightweight.
Appearance: I got to try the bright orange contacts and at first I’m like dang…this is really bright. I actually grew to love the bright orange. To me the design of the contacts is sleek, there’s no special gimmicks or extra stuff to weigh you down…it’s a binding and the design is there with a nice color to go along with it.
Comfort: Both of the straps, ankle and toe strap were comfortable to my boot. I didn’t have any issues with pressure points or weird spots. The binding overall molded well, the highback shape fit very well, comfortable and a good height to my boot.
Functionality: Easy to set up, easy to adjust the straps, the highback. It took me a second longer to get my degrees dialed only because I wasn’t used to Union’s and having to do them myself (typically at demo’s, you tell them degrees and they set it up). Easy to adjust the heelcup forward and really make this binding fit your boot the best it can. The ratchets were easy to undo and ratchet up, never had any issues with either one during riding.
Flex: I like softer bindings a lot, the biggest reason is giving you some give and take when riding…the contacts really were fun to mess around with, offering a softer flex for messing around with on butters and presses but then offering support laterally when I stepped into the halfpipe. It felt the most secure when doing tricks where it was light and easy to manuever, and fun. The ankle strap I rode is a tad stiffer than the one coming out, but even with it was comfortable and easy to flex from toeside to heelside. Over the bumpy slush, these bindings really excelled…adapted to the varying snow conditions with no issues. The highback is noticeably softer than my rome madisions that I’m used to. Now that I’ve been riding the bindings more in Colorado on groomers and hardpacked charging conditions, they are very soft and they are still the softest binding I’ve been on.
Response: The contact has 19% of the base plate touching the board and that was interesting to really get a good example of feeling the board when riding. I felt it more when I was in the halfpipe and landing when I didn’t have any vibrations. I didn’t really notice it during the freeriding except during some slushy areas where the bindings and board absorbed the terrain. In terms of response, the softer flex of the binding let the rider control the response…obviously not a huge responsive binding where one toe pressure would cause a toeside carve, it was really forgiving and let you control how much to turn.
Toe Strap: I rocked the toe strap as a cap strap for the time riding, it fit snugly over my boot and although I had doubts that it would stick when riding, it was still secure at the bottom of each run.
Overall Impression: I honestly would like to thank the couple people that requested me to try them, because then I went out of my way to actually ride them for you. I was surprised that there had been no online reviews yet of these bindings.
Overall it was a smooth ride down the mountain, the softer flex is my style allowing me to absorb the conditions but also taking it into the pipe where the lightweight and natural flex was fun to ride with. It was comfortable and a good fit to my boot for a men’s binding. I think Union really did a solid job with these.
After spending more time on them and letting friends borrow them as well, they are a soft binding but lightweight. For a women rocking these, my boot fits just fine in them and I’ve recommended them to the women or men wanting the most buttery soft binding you can play with.